Cerima Cherries is a fruit and vegetable company specialising solely in the production, packaging and export of cherries worldwide. One of its main objectives is to offer customers the very best cherry in the market. Therefore, the company cultivates its own fields with the care they deserve, seeking, among other things, to obtain a product of the highest quality.
Currently, the maximum production capacity is 240,000 kilos of cherries in one day, which over a whole campaign (that lasts a couple of months), equates to a production range of between 5 and 6 million kilos of cherries.
Since 2004 the company has offered its customers the best varieties of cherries during the harvest period (April – July) from the different farms in the group. Throughout this time, Cerima Cherries has gradually increased its production area to 300 hectares of cherry.
“In the beginning most of the production data was recorded manually and entered into a spreadsheet. The receipt of the goods, the quality data, the labeling and traceability information in the finished box, camera management and the dispatch and shipping systems were all managed manually, which was possible with a production volume that did not exceed 70 or 80 tons per day. A vital part of our production system was the traceability information. Once the box was finished the operator prepared a label, manually typing the lot number which could be different depending on the date, variety of cherry, producer and field of origin. This was an important part of our entire production process due to the large amount of staff resources involved and the time spent carrying out this procedure.
As we increased our production volume, we implemented a traceability management software, which helped us a lot in data ordering and process control. However, we continued to have a bottleneck in the registration of the boxes, which often determined our production speed. In a way, we could solve it by incorporating bar code readers that were manually operated and allowed us to give the process some fluidity. However, it remained unstable, which was evident every time we had to change packaging and make a greater number of boxes, or when there were errors in manual processing. We knew that it was necessary to make a leap in digitizing that process with an automatic system that would solve that problem for us,” says Eduard Cedó Sans, General Manager of Cerima Cherries.
The company has a central warehouse next to its headquarters that receives and processes all the fruit from the different fields. This warehouse is equipped with the latest technology available for the selection, calibration and preservation of the cherry, giving this exceptional product an exceptional treatment.
The newly implemented technology means the fruit all meet important standard and consistent characteristics, unifying criteria such as color, firmness, category and size. This gives a new dimension and differentiation to the quality of the cherries.
When the fruit arrives at the warehouse it passes through the first quality control that looks at its general condition (sugar levels, hardness etc). Then, to determine the destination market, it is passed through “cooling”, a system of cooling the cherry via a cold shower to lower the temperature to 0 degrees, a basic process to conserve the cherry in the supermarkets where it will be sold.
The fruit continues through different processes, including a leading European calibrator that takes 124 photographs of each cherry. Once the cherries have been calibrated, they are placed in boxes according to their caliber and labeled for the subsequent preparation of the orders. These labels include information such as place and date of collection, size, production line, date and place of boxing and other information necessary to ensure good production control and traceability.
The labelled boxes are placed on different conveyor belts that lead to a general belt, where they are then sorted, packaged and put onto pallets for the different orders .
The boxes pass under Datalogic reading arches installed along the conveyor belt. Each reading arch is equipped with two Datalogic DS5100 laser scanners that read the labels located on the front and rear of the boxes.
The scanners are installed with the necessary angle of inclination to be able to detect the labels of the boxes regardless of the label position at the front or rear of the box. The reading system is autonomous, it is equipped with a Datalogic S50N photocell connected to the scanners, which detects the passage of the box through the arc, sends a read order and activates the scanners. The reading system sends the information from the labels to the computer system of the company via Ethernet TCP / IP. The system has a control with digital signals that also detects the boxes with errors of reading or labeling, hence this system automatically controls 100% of the production.
The DS5100 laser scanner offers exceptional reading performance on low-quality, low-contrast barcodes, damaged labels, as well as at very steep angles. Superior read performance along with a user selectable focus makes the DS5100 the best option for this application. The IDNET network connection between the scanners allows us to create a synchronized reading set between them. Each set of equipment in each reading arch works as a single station and communicates with the Cerima Cherry server in a single and simple way.
The DS5100 scanners are connected to the central Cerima Cherries system and send all the information they collect. If a code could not be read, the scanner sends this information, thus guaranteeing reliable information on 100% of the production, the traceability of the fruit and it makes reverse traceability possible if necessary.
The choice of the DS5100 laser scanner has allowed the classification of pallets to be carried out automatically in the order preparation line, speeding up this process, avoiding errors and having real-time information.
“The implementation of Datalogic readers has meant a radical change in the way of working and grouping the information of each of the lots. Thanks to its reliability and speed in reading the barcodes of each box we have been able to increase the number of boxes in each of the 4 reading lines that we have installed. Without a doubt, it has been a success having Datalogic as a partner in the data reading and recording system, ” says Eduard Cedó Sans, General Manager of Cerima Cherries.